Day 4 | Prophet of the Highest
December 19, 2015 - WEEK ONE
Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov (1806–1858), Head of John the Baptist, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow (public domain)
CONSIDER AS YOU READ
- Have you ever questioned, as did Zacharias, whether the Lord could work a miracle through you?
- Have you found joy and satisfaction when called to play a supportive role—like John the Baptist?
John the Baptist is one of the great figures in sacred literature. Though his brief mortal ministry was limited in time and travel to a small portion of the Holy Land during the New Testament period, he is widely acclaimed in scripture and spoken of in all four standard works. He was in effect the last prophet of the Old Testament and the first of the New, and a necessary participant in the dispensation of the fulness of times.
Most of us know two things about John: He baptized Jesus Christ in the Jordan River, and he ordained Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery to the Aaronic Priesthood near Harmony, Pennsylvania on the banks of the Susquehanna River. Although in our eyes these may be the two most significant things he did, there is a great deal more that is interesting and even thrilling concerning his life, character, and ministry.
His mission was important enough that it was made known to prophets and seers hundreds of years beforehand. His forthcoming birth was announced by the angel Gabriel and attended by miraculous circumstances showing him to be an unusual child of promise. During his life he was emphatically and singularly eulogized by the Lord Jesus Christ himself (Robert J. Matthews, Behold the Messiah, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1994, 43–44).
He had his authority from God, and the oracles of God were with him, and the kingdom of God for a season seemed to rest with John alone …. John was a priest after his father, and held the keys of the Aaronic Priesthood, and… was a legal administrator;… for no man could have better authority to administer than John; and our Savior submitted to that authority Himself, by being baptized by John” (Joseph Fielding Smith, comp., Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1976, 272–73).
FOR YOUNGER DISCIPLES
QUESTIONS FOR YOUNGER DISCIPLES
- Why was John so important?
- Who told Elizabeth about Mary’s child?